Hello, my name is Bill Corder and I am the Youth Services librarian for The Robeson County Public Library. I am writing this article to talk a little about the upcoming Summer Reading Program. The theme for children, 12 and under, is “One World, Many Stories,” and for the teens ages 13 to 18, is “You Are Here.”
I am specifically writing this article to answer the question: Why summer reading?
The ability to read and read well has been proven through many studies as a primary indicator to how our children will fare into the limitless opportunities that are their futures — grades in school, getting into college, success in a career. A dollar figure cannot be attached to the importance of a child being exposed to reading by a caring parent or guardian. Once they are old enough to read on their own, they should be encouraged to read whatever they want. I can’t tell you how often as a children’s librarian I have seen parents comment on the merits, even refuse to let them read legitimate forms of literature such as comics, manga, graphic novels, etc. The bottom line is that if a child learns to love to read, they will read many forms of print in all its glorious formats. By the way, I still read comics.
This brings us back to summer reading. Summer reading programs have been something libraries have participated in for what seems like forever. What is its purpose? To keep children reading during the summer months when school is out so that they maintain and even improve their reading levels instead of backsliding when school starts up. To help them learn to love to read.
How do public libraries achieve this not-so-easy task? By making their summer reading programs fun. This is achieved by bringing in entertainers to the libraries for children, giving prizes for the amount they read, creating a program that is so vibrant and alive that children want to be a part of it. Unfortunately, libraries now find themselves in very tough economic times. Funds to support a successful summer reading program are hard to come by when libraries are fighting just to keep their doors open and people employed. We all know how tough it is making one’s way in these fiscally challenging times.
To cut to the heart of the matter of “Why Summer Reading,” it is because the library cares about the future of our children and the benefits that Summer Reading brings. This is an open invitation to ask, if you can, to donate to The Robeson County Public Library System’s Summer Reading Program in whatever way you can. For without your help, while the program will be great, it can be so much more and don’t our children deserve the best? I think so and I hope that you agree.
— Bill Corder is the Youth Services Librarian at the Robeson County Public Library.